I put together a post about my monthly comic buys for July and got confused on how the cut worked and accidentally wiped most of it out and now I’m thinking, “oh, who the frak cares what I’m buying?”
Instead, let’s talk Supergirl, for as much as I adore and love Black Canary, the real reason I’m reading comics at this age is Supergirl or, more specifically, issue #16 of Peter David’s glorious Supergirl series which I came across on a small end-cap display at my local grocery store in late 1997.
I also found the infamous Black Canary/Batgirl: Birds of Prey issue that day and was delighted, but it was for Supergirl back issues and information that I first started trekking to my local comic shop to find out What Was Going On. There were several terrific Supergirl-centric websites back then or I might have created a Supergirl site instead of a Black Canary/Birds of Prey one, but that was the niche that needed filled, and as I researched and researched, my BC adoration revived from its childhood beginnings, and that’s where my energies focused.
But I collected and read Supergirl religiously. I still have all my back issues and related titles collected during that period. Linda “Supergirl” Danvers is still my favorite Supergirl.
Which leads us back to Kara Zor-El, Mach II. I tried to like her when she was introduced in Superman/Batman and while she was intriguing during the early, mysterious part of her tale, her costume just made her kind of skeevy. She wasn’t Linda nor was she even the somewhat dull and occasionally irritating original Kara Zor-El: “Gosh, superpowers are such a bother! I wish I were a normal human girl!” Funny how the GUYS never seem to have this problem.
No, the new Supegirl was… a skank. A Paris Hilton with superpowers (…I just scared myself. Bad.)
And then the monthly series started, and it stumbled which was a bit of a shock written as it was by top-notch writers. Rucka was on and then off the series so quickly while his complicated Kandor City story bogged down from the very first parts.
And THEN… Joe Kelly took over. I may never have loved a comic writer more than I did him when he had the characters chuck the Kandor storyline in midstream rather than trying to sort out what had become a confused and confusing mess. Sometimes, you just have to know when to extricate yourself from a quagmire, eh Kara? Go, you.
Since then, I’ve only had the art to bug me. Still the skank outfit and poses, the too thinness and near-constant up-skirtiness. But the story has been solid and interesting and the character of Kara Zor-El finally began to develop into someone interesting. Joe worked slowly and carefully toward creating order out of the weird, dark hints about Kara’s past, and the current (and his final) arc at last revealed The Truth. It’s been interesting and lots of actual fun to follow.
Has it reached AMAZING levels? No, but I admire that he’s tried to work within the framework he was given to slowly but surely evolve the character toward someone with depth and personality. Her friendship with the disaffected and damaged Wonder Girl has been a real highlight, giving them both a friend who really understands as well as allowing Kara to sometimes be the stable one. I’m interested to see how the two are used in the Amazons Attack crossover (the only bit of that I’m at all interested in, for the record).
And so we arrive at mid-2007 and issue #20 of this latest Supergirl series. And the mighty Tony Bedard comes along (he who is also taking the reins of Birds of Prey wrote the Black Canary miniseries — is there some sort of mystic connection between S’girl and BoP Black Canary for someone besides me?) and says some really fantastic things about the character.
And there’s preview art for the new artist, Renato Guedes.
New artist. New art.
Oh. My. God.
Ladies and gents, I give you Kara Zor-El:
I think things are going to be okay.
And even more to the point, I think DC may be listening… maybe just a little bit or maybe it’s just Guedes and Bedard who are listening or thinking like those of us who want our superheroines to be strong and smart and not skanky (especially when they’re 17 years old).
Supergirl and Black Canary and Wonder Woman and Batgirl and Oracle — these are strong, smart, tough, savvy women who should be presented as such just as Batman and Superman and Robin and Green Lantern are always portrayed with great respect and consistency and dignity. And believe me, you can be dignified and sexy (*koff*Batmanhellyeah*koff*).
So thank you folks. Thanks Joe Kelly for writing a great Kara. Now, thanks to Guedes and Bedard. I look forward to the new Supergirl now even more than before — possibly to Peter David-era levels of anticipation.
And that is saying a lot.